20 Famous and Exciting Festivals in Kentucky

Festivals in Kentucky
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Kentucky is a fantastic place to have a good time.

You may get together with other community members throughout the state and throughout the year to toast to some of your favorite things, like the Kentucky Derby, The Beatles, “The Big Lebowski,” the arts, and blues music.

With a full and exciting schedule of must-attend events, these festivals in Kentucky will keep you occupied all year.

Below are the different types of festivals in Kentucky;

1. Kentucky Derby Festival

The Kentucky Derby Festival is one of the different types of festivals in Kentucky and is a two-week series of activities leading up to the Kentucky Derby’s annual racing.

Thunder Over Louisville, a 30-minute fireworks spectacular that is one of the largest in North America, starts off the event.

The Great Steamboat Race, a race down the Ohio River between the Belles of Louisville and Cincinnati, the Pegasus Parade, and the marathon and mini-marathon run attracts about 15,000 runners from throughout the country, are all famous festival events.

This event takes place on the last week in April.

2. The St. James Court Art Show

The St. James Court Art Event is annual juried fine art and crafts show located in Old Louisville’s most magnificent Victorian house neighborhood.

More than 700 artists participate in the festival, displaying and selling their work at booths around Old Louisville.

Every year, more than half a million people travel from all across the country to see the decorations at this annual festival in Louisville.

3. International Barbeque Festival

The International Bar-B-Q Festival in Owensboro kicks off Kentucky’s summer every year.

The weekend event takes place the second weekend in May, right after the Kentucky Derby, and benefits local charities.

Chefs and local fans prepare samples of barbecued pig, chicken, and mutton, and side events like the keg throw and pie-eating contest keep you engaged in between meals.

4. WorldFest

WorldFest is among the different types of festivals in Kentucky, and it’s an annual celebration of the city’s expanding foreign population hosted on the Belvedere in Louisville, Kentucky.

The free festival during Labor Day weekend. It includes delicious international cuisine, cultural programs, retail booths, and the Parade of Cultures when people from many nations showcase their traditions for all to enjoy.

5. IdeaFestival

IdeaFestival is an annual autumn event in Louisville, Kentucky, that brings together some of the world’s finest minds for a series of activities aimed at encouraging creative thought, instilling creativity, and upsetting complacency.

The format of IdeaFestival events is similar to that of a TED Talk, including presentations, art displays, and music.

5. Highland Renaissance Fair

The Highland Renaissance Fair is one of the different types of festivals in Kentucky and the only renaissance festival in Kentucky.

It was a re-enactment of life in the 14th century Scotland hosted on former farmland in Eminence, Kentucky.

The festival takes place on weekends from May 30th to July 5th.

The festival includes jousting events, stalls selling arts, crafts, clothes, and accessories, and even event-specific money called the coin of the realm, a huge wooden coin used to pay for all fair transactions.

6. Lebowski Fest

More than a decade ago, what began as a modest bowling tournament has evolved into a massive yearly festival and celebration of “The Dude” and his exploits, held in Louisville, Kentucky, each year. It takes place on July 10th and 11th.

This event, which always includes a showing of “The Big Lebowski” and a bowling party, as well as music, comic performances, trivia games, and costume contests, is known for its White Russians.

7. Great American Brass Band Festival

The Great American Brass Band Festival is among the different types of festivals in Kentucky;

It is an early-summer festival of brass band music that brings together both local and famous brass bands and artists.

While the live music is undoubtedly the main attraction, the free event includes a hot air balloon race, a community picnic, and a Food Village where guests can taste dishes from local eateries.

8. Garvin Gate Blues Festival

The annual Garvin Gate Blues Festival in Old Louisville’s Victorian neighborhood is one of the different types of festivals in Kentucky, all about celebrating the arts and the blues.

The two-day event, which takes place yearly on the second week in October, draws artists and blues musicians from all around the region to Louisville so that visitors can enjoy live music as well as eat, drink, and buy from over 50 booths.

9. Kentucky Bourbon Festival

The annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival, a celebration of the state’s hallmark whiskey, attracts bourbon fans every year in Bardstown, Kentucky.

The festival offers a variety of events, some of which are free and others which are not. Attendees can enjoy distillery tours, bourbon tastings, live music, food, drink, and retail booths at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival.

10. Forecastle Festival

Forecastle is one of the different types of festivals in Kentucky. It takes place from July 17th to 19th.

It is also a summer music festival hosted every year in Louisville, Kentucky, attracting music enthusiasts from all over the world to the city’s Waterfront Park.

Outkast, The Avett Brothers, Smashing Pumpkins, The Flaming Lips, and My Morning Jacket have all performed at Forecastle in the past. The three-day music event has gotten a lot of attention.

Rolling Stone calls it “one of America’s trendiest festivals,” and Southern Living calls it “one of the greatest festivals in the country.”

11. MainStrasse Village Oktoberfest

The annual Oktoberfest festival is held in MainStrasse Village, a historic German neighborhood in Covington, Kentucky.

The MainStrasse Village Oktoberfest, which takes place every September, gathers folks from all around Kentucky and Cincinnati to drink specialty brews, eat traditional German fare, and enjoy live music and dancing in Covington’s streets.

12. Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event

The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is an annual equestrian competition held in Lexington, Kentucky, at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Dressage, cross-country, and show jumping disciplines are held during the event, which attracts riders worldwide.

Though the event’s name suggests that it takes place over three days, it is a four-day event every year on the final weekend in April, the weekend before the Kentucky Derby.

13. Greek Festival

The Greek Festival is held in Lexington and includes traditional Greek dance, children’s sports and activities, a silent auction, and displays that highlight the beauty of Greece through pictures and presentations.

Attendees may sample genuine Greek cuisine prepared by local restaurants and pastry shops, such as spanakopita, souvlaki, chocolate baklava, and kourambiethes, Greek wedding pastries.

The PanagiaPantovasilissa Greek Orthodox Church hosted the three-day festival in 2009 at the Oleika Shrine Temple.

14. Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival

Each fall, Morehead hosts the Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival, a 20-day festival that includes bluegrass music performances, hiking and horseback riding activities, and a bluegrass jam for guests.

The festival takes place from July 2nd to 4th. Attendees can camp at Poppy Mountain, listen to live music, meet other bluegrass aficionados, and join a raffle.

The Nuthin Fancy Band, Ernie Thacker and Route 23, The Dismembered Tennesseans, and Trinity Mountain have performed at the festival in past years.

15. Hillbilly Days

Hillbilly Days is a small fair held each spring in Pikeville, Kentucky. The celebration includes a procession, live music, and children’s activities.

The festival’s features include a quilt show, a corn hole tournament, miniature golf, and a NASCAR simulator.

The Pike County Chamber of Commerce, the Pikeville-Pike County Tourism Commission, and local companies are putting on the event.

16. Blues-n-Jazz Barbeque Festival

You can’t get enough renowned barbeque or music in Kentucky. Louisville’s Water Tower, a historic landmark on the Ohio River’s banks, hosts one of the city’s most popular family events every July.

For three days along the riverside, live music fills the air, and delicious barbeque fills the stomachs. Enjoy this top-notch free event by spreading a blanket on the lawn.

17. Kentucky Arts and Crafts Fall Fair

This is among the different types of festivals in Kentucky. This massive festival celebrates the incredible range of talent its residents possess.

Every October, hundreds of local craftspeople set up shop in Berea’s Indian Fort Theater.

There are workshops, demonstrations, storytelling, and a whole section of the fair dedicated to the artistry of Kentucky’s local food.

18. World Chicken Festival

Colonel Harland Sanders, the creator of Kentucky Fried Chicken, is a household name across the world.

The Colonel’s first restaurant, opened in the 1940s, is in Laurel County, Kentucky. He began working in Laurel County in 1952 with his uncle, Colonel Sanders.

In Kentucky, they celebrate it from the 26th of September to the 29th of September yearly. The World Chicken Festival is a celebration of this history.

Everyone is welcome to the yearly event in central London on the final full weekend of September.

19. Sorghum Festival

The Sorghum Festival is a great way to get a taste of authentic Kentucky. Thousands of people have been celebrating this sweetening grain for years.

In reality, West Liberty has hosted this event since 1971.

Three days of Kentucky mountain tradition began with a mule-drawn cane mill, boiling vats, and little jars of sorghum molasses.

In Kentucky, they celebrate it from the 27th of September to the 29th of September yearly.

20. The Original Goettafest

The Original Goettafest, held in Covington’s MainStrasse Village, features goetta, a distinctive German delicacy.

People of Kentucky usually celebrate it from 25th of July to 28th of July and from 1st of august to the 4th of august.

This event is jam-packed from top to bottom with live music, goetta activities for the whole family, and delicious cuisine.

It is only at Goettafest that the region’s greatest culinary artisans set up shop side by side to tempt the faithful’s taste buds.

Their goetta-based concoctions range from fudge to pizza and push the boundaries of goetta as an ingredient. 

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